Monday, September 14, 2009

From kitchen to datacenter - consolidate and generalize

Consolidation is a hot topic for those operating a data center. The idea is to save money by saving on space, energy, people, etc. I was reminded of this while reading the "consumer information" - a.k.a. weekend advertising, from one of the supermarket chains. Some of the upcoming specials include a sandwich maker, a pancake maker, a popcorn maker, a muffin maker, and so on.

Who needs all of them? How much space do you have in your kitchen? Do you read all the manuals and operating instructions? Why don't you use a general purpose solution that is already available in a regular kitchen (stove, oven, pan, pot, baking sheet, ...)?

Something similar has happened over the years again and again with software, including database systems. Companies have invested in special-purpose systems and later realized that they need additional capacities (kitchen storage, counter space, money for the purchase, ...) or the general purpose system runs overall as well (no special instructions to read, no special cleaning afterwards, different portion sizes possible). Remember the days of object-oriented dbms or an influx of "native XML" dbms? In most cases it is back to heating up a pan for some really good pancakes...

BTW: What kitchen gadget do you have that falls into the pancake maker category?